Thursday, December 8, 2022

Ugly Sweaters I have Known

Posted by: PG Forte

I saw a post the other day for an ugly Christmas sweater with a built in wine holder (Link is here:  Wine holder stocking ugly sweater - Etsy) and like I commented on, at the time, I'm impressed by how effortlessly any sweater could be made both more practical (It has a pocket now!) and sooo much uglier. I almost want to make one of my own, except that I really don't have the build for it!

I got some pushback when I posted about it, which I don't understand. Because I'm kind of obsessed with the subject of ugly Christmas sweaters. I mean, that should be somewhat obvious by now. I keep writing stories about them! Not so coincidentally, I have two out this year.

My story in the Let's Get Naughty anthology (currently available for free in KU and in print) released last month. It's the first ugly sweater I ever wrote--well, to be exact, it's a very much expanded version of the first story. That short teaser is still available as a Free Read (link can be found on the FREE Reads page of my website: ). 

The second sweater appears in Light Up the Night, which releases next Tuesday! Only four more days. 

I can date my fascination back to an online holiday event I took part in back in December of 2013. I was part of a group called the Nine Naughty Novelists and we threw a month long Ugly Sweater Party on our blog and facebook group. Sadly, the group is more-or-less abandoned by now, but we threw some great parties, back in the day and wrote some hilariously funny parodies together. Here's a link to the original blog (yeah, it didn't age that well going by the first picture! But we had fun.) 

Excerpt from Light Up the Night:

“So? What’d you think?” Marc asked, coming to sit beside Heather on one of the many couches with which the warehouse was furnished. “Did it live up to your expectations?”

Heather glanced around a little wistfully. “Yeah. I think it did.” Fischer House’s second annual Christmas-Eve-slash-Founders’-Day Party was winding down. Most of the family were still present, having split into smaller groups to talk, or watch movies, or play games. Some were still dancing. An industrious few had already started cleaning up. Only a handful had headed out into the night, either to see their guests home or to grab a late, live snack. And good luck with that, she thought, since the whole reason why the party had been designated a bagged-blood-only event, right from the start, was because most humans were unavailable, too busy with their own families on Christmas Eve. “It was good, right?”

Maybe it was only temporary, or maybe it was no more than wishful thinking, but she felt like they were more cohesive now. Old members and new all seemed more accepting of each other, less tense. 

“It was wonderful,” Marc said. “I’m really glad you thought of it.” He hesitated for a moment then added, “We needed this. I needed this. So, thank you.”

“You’re welcome,” she said, smiling a little to herself as she took another sip of her drink. It was nice to be appreciated. Nice to feel like you’d gotten something right—especially at a time when it seemed like you’d gotten so much else wrong. 

She sneaked a glance at him and was pleased by what she saw. Marc was looking more relaxed than he had in months, less tired, maybe even a little younger. Which was especially weird in view of the fact he was wearing the old-fogey sweater she’d bought him. Shouldn’t that have made him look older?

Liz and Brook had laughed themselves silly when she’d explained to them what she wanted, and who it was for.  A scary-dangerous, glamorously handsome, bona fide vampire sire in an ugly Christmas sweater? Once they stopped laughing, however, they’d gotten into the spirit of things. They’d helped her find one that was exactly right—complete with reindeer skulls and bloody fangs; with spider webs instead of snowflakes and be-ribboned sprigs of deadly nightshade in place of mistletoe. All done up in white, red, and green on a black background. 

They still thought it was ridiculous, but Heather didn’t care. She knew everyone had more than one side to themselves. And her Marc—or rather, the side of him she liked best, the face he usually wore when he was with her—was one-hundred-percent dad at heart. And, as she told him when she’d given it to him, earlier tonight, since part of his job as their sire was to be a dad to all the rest of them as well, he should, at least occasionally, look and dress the part...even if the pirate-esque eyepatch he wore  somewhat spoiled the effect. And even if Hawk disagreed—which of course he had, loudly and at length. 

But that was only to be expected. Everyone knew he’d only be happy if they all dressed like Blade, or the OG Matrix crew, twenty-four seven. 

Light Up the Night 

A Children of Night/Ugly Christmas Sweater Story 

Her love will light up his night. If they can both survive that long. 

 Heather is having the worst Christmas ever! Or, at least, the worst Christmas since she was forced to become a vampire. Her sire's distracted, her nestmates have forgotten her, weirdos have taken over the lair. The only bright spot in her life right now is Drew--who didn't even used to like her! She knows he's fond of her now, but that's not good enough. She wants more. She wants everything. She wants him. And she's not giving up. 

 Drew Geiger gave up on love a long time ago. Such tender emotions have no place in a vampire's heart. But, somehow, the girl he once described as a "feral kitten" has got her claws in him, and she's not letting go. That would be fine, if only someone didn't want her dead--and if her sire didn't recall that it was Drew who once suggested that maybe she'd be better off that way


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